Vaping, also known as e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes, have the ‘potential’ to cause cold sores, but it is not medically proven (yet)…
Although e-cigarettes have been around for many decades, so much is unknown. This is especially true as it relates to long-term health risks. In respect to cold sores, vaping is quite similar to tobacco use. Many of the same factors can lead to an outbreak.
Will will answer your questions and discuss some of the potential risks that are associated with vaping. While so much about this topic as yet to be medically unraveled, it seems that recurrent cold sore frequency does rise among users of electronic cigarettes.
Does Vaping Cause Cold Sores?
While vaping products don’t contain tobacco, it can cause an outbreak to occur.
Similar to standard tobacco cigarettes, vaping involves heat, manipulation of the lip, and the inhaling of toxins. This is in addition to a unique mouthpiece that can become riddled with bacteria.
While you can vape in a variety of ways, the general process is basically the same. The act of vaping, especially over time, can cause lip irritation. The most notable cause for concern is dry lips. Cracks and tiny abrasions in the lips can activate HSV-1 and cause cold sores to develop.
Although quite subjective, some who vape complain of cold sores in rather short order. Some merely days after vaping for the first time. This is likely due to lip irritation caused by lip dryness and toxins.
Noted below are some important factors to consider.
- Vaping can trigger cold sores in a similar way to that of tobacco. Heat from your vaping device can dry out the lips and cause them to crack. This allows HSV-1 to enter the body more easily.
- Vaping is a chemical process. Although deemed much safer than tobacco use, toxins can irritate your mouth and lips. Combined with heat and a bacteria-prone mouthpiece, cold sores can occur more frequently.
- Vaping, especially over time, can weaken your immune system. While the impact will likely be subtle, it does not take much to trigger HSV-1. Cold sores can occur due to this factor alone because your body is less able to fight off the herpes simplex virus.
Are E-Cigarettes and E-Liquid Safe?
Both e-cigs and e-liquids are problematic. Are they safe overall? The jury is still out in that regard.
E-cigs are the most common vaporizer used. These devices consist of a mouthpiece, battery, cartridge, atomizer/cartomizer, and sensor. All of these elements come together to turn e-liquid into vapor.
- While the process is quite basic, e-cigs and e-liquids might not mix well with HSV-1. This is due in large measure to the chemical elements in e-liquids. While most liquids are compromised of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and added flavorings, they can present a problem. Especially when heated.
- Another issue that can cause a cold sore outbreak is the unknown ingredients of certain liquids. Because the government and FDA do not regulate e-liquids, hazardous chemicals can be sold. There are currently more than 500 brands of e-cigs and several thousand e-liquid flavors on the market. For every reputable manufacturer available, several shady brands do exist.
- Vaping and e-cigs are a big business. Making a purchase from a less-than-stellar company can introduce cold sores and perhaps other health issues. This is why it is vital to read product labels before use.
- Finally, another potential trigger involves a dirty e-cig. Because high-end models are not disposable you can smoke using the same equipment for quite a while. Long use of an e-cig mouthpiece without proper cleaning can irritate your lips.
Summary of the Most Important Findings
- While the jury is still out as it relates to e-liquid chemicals and major health issues, known chemicals can lead to cold sores. This is especially true when heated. Drying of the lips is the most common side effects and the cracks that appear allow the virus into your body.
- Be mindful of clone liquids with unknown chemicals. With several thousand liquid flavors on the market, some are naturally less than high quality. Cheap imitation liquids can cause cold sores and perhaps much worse.
- The FDA does not regulate e-liquid standards.
- While uncommon, it is possible for hot liquid to seep out of the e-cig and burn your lips.
- A dirty e-cig mouthpiece can potentially trigger a cold sore outbreak due to bacteria and irritation.
Can Nicotine Make Cold Sores Worse?
Yes. When you couple all of the questionable factors of vaping with nicotine you are taking a major risk. While so much remains unknown in the world of vaping, we do know the impact of too much nicotine.
Nicotine is a potent chemical that can weaken your immune system. This factor alone can trigger cold sores and make existing blisters worse.
In truth, adding nicotine to e-liquid has the same negative effect as traditional tobacco smoking as it relates to cold sores. Any potential “safety” from vaping is removed once the toxic levels of nicotine have been introduced.
Here are some important takeaways…
- Introducing nicotine to e-liquid is not wise if you have HSV-1. This act can trigger a cold sore outbreak and make an existing problem worse.
- Nicotine can weaken your immune system. If you vape with nicotine on a routine basis, you are slowly opening the door for a cold sore.
- Vaping, nicotine or not, can halt the healing process of an existing cold sore. Due to various irritants harming your lip additional cold sore treatment will be required.
Can You Get Cold Sores from Sharing E-Cigs?
Sharing e-cigs can be viewed the same way as kissing as it relates to cold sores.
Bacteria and saliva dwell on the mouthpiece of an e-cig. Due to this unnerving truth, sharing an e-cig is extremely problematic. This is especially true if the sharing involves someone who is a known carrier of HSV-1.
The act of sharing is a known trigger. Even changing your e-cig mouthpiece is not a preventative safeguard. Because e-cigs produce vapor, the inside of the device can be a source of bacteria growth. Inhaling, even with a new mouthpiece, can introduce HSV-1.
- Sharing is not wise. While the concept of attaching a new mouthpiece is an option, it is better to steer clear. This is especially true if you or the other person is a known HSV-1 carrier.
- E-cigs can transmit and trigger HSV-1 just like kissing or the sharing of utensils. In the same way, you should not share your beverage you should not share your e-cig.
Can Vaping Cause Other Health Issues?
It should be noted that this question is the biggest unknown about vaping.
While various studies have been done regarding the long-term effects of vaping, the results have returned inconclusive. Although vaping is certainly nothing new, the market did not form until rather recently. Vaping as we know it today has only been around roughly 10 years.
However, what can be said on the subject, at least at this time, is fairly positive as a whole. Cold sores not withstanding. In terms of a broader spectrum, vaping does seem safer than tobacco use.
According to the American Heart Association, vaporizers are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Additionally, vaping has helped many tobacco users quit the habit. Public Health England has also gone on record saying that vaping is up to 95% safer than smoking tobacco.
Logic says that only time will tell. Most things that are viewed as safe often always have a dark side. Sidewalk curbs are safe until you slip and twist your ankle. It might only be a matter of time before something negative regarding vaping is revealed.
Regarding vaping being directly linked to major health issues, the answer at this time is no. If an issue has been caused, it has yet to be confirmed within the medical community and made public knowledge.
- Can vaping cause other health issues? The potential is there, especially when it comes to e-liquid, but nothing is conclusive.
- It could take years to know the true effects of vaping. What is known is that the process does appear to be safer than tobacco use.
Cold Sores Can be a Side Effect of Vaping
While so much of vaping remains a mystery, both e-cigs and e-liquids have the potential to cause additional outbreaks of cold sores. If you have HSV-1, it is important to be aware if they are a trigger for you. We all react negatively to different factors.
Cold sores can be treated in a variety of ways. If you have an active cold sore or happen to get one from vaping, various creams, ointments, and patches are at your disposal.
We’ve compared the Virulite and LipZore Devices in this post – cold sores can be cleared up in just 3 days!